Edward Kennedy laid to rest near slain brothers

Edward Kennedy laid to rest near slain brothers

Sen. Edward Kennedy's grandchildren and family members kneel over his coffin during his burial service at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Va.

Kennedy, who died at the age of 77 on Tuesday last after a long battle with brain cancer, was buried last night at the Arlington National Cemetery at a private ceremony.
Fondly called the 'Lion of the Senate', Kennedy, also known as Ted, was laid to rest next to his two brothers -- former President John F Kennedy and Senator Robert Kennedy.
With flags over the Capitol flying at half-mast, a squad of seven riflemen fired three volleys in a traditional military funeral ritual, and a bugler sounded taps.

At the burial attended by his family members and close friends including Vice President Joe Biden and Senator John Kerry, Cardinal Theodore E McCarrick, the former archbishop of Washington read out selected contents of a letter which Kennedy had written to Pope Benedict XVI.
The letter was hand-delivered by Obama to the Pope during his recent visit to the Vatican.

"I'm writing with deep humility to ask that you pray for me as my health declines," Cardinal McCarrick read from the letter. "I am 77 years old and preparing for the next passage of life," Kennedy wrote.

The last journey of the Massachusetts Senator, who served the Senate for nearly 47 years, started from the J F K Library and Museum in Boston early yesterday. Hundreds of people, braving rains, lined the 5-mile route along the funeral procession as his motorcade drove to Basilica of Our Lady of Perpetual Help.

The US President read the eulogy for Kennedy at the funeral mass attended by three former Presidents -- Bill Clinton, Jimmy Carter and George W Bush -- besides scores of eminent personalities, lawmakers and mourning supporters, who were fortunate to get a seat for the event. Obama eulogised him as a "champion for those who had none".

"We can still hear his voice bellowing through the Senate chamber, face reddened, fist pounding the podium, a veritable force of nature, in support of health care or workers' rights or civil rights," said Obama, who came from his vacation at Martha's Vineyard to attend the funeral mass.

"And yet, while his causes became deeply personal, his disagreements never did. While he was seen by his fiercest critics as a partisan lightning rod, that is not the prism through which Ted Kennedy saw the world, nor was it the prism through which his colleagues saw him," he said, adding "that's how Ted Kennedy became the greatest legislator of our time."
Soon after landing at the Andrews Air Force Base, the motorcade carrying the cascade of Kennedy drove directly to the Capitol Hill. People lined up on both side of the road.

At the Capitol Hill, Kennedy's staff bid final farewell to the Senator.
"Victoria Reggie Kennedy (the Senator's widow) led the family out of their limousines and started hugging longtime staffers. Other family members joined in as well," wrote 'The Boston Globe'.

The Rev. Daniel P Coughlin, the chaplain of the House of Representatives, told her that everyone gathered wanted to show their solidarity and support, the daily said.
From here the motorcade drove towards Arlington National Cemetery through the Constitution Avenue, National Mall, passing through the Washington Memorial and Lincoln Memorial.

People lined up on both sides of the road, hoping to have a glimpse of the Senator on his final lap of his journey, before the hearse stopped at its last destination.
"A military guard carried Mr Kennedy's coffin to the grave site as a rose-coloured sky grew dim, just before 8 p.m. Eastern time," wrote 'The New York Times'.
At the cemetery, Cardinal McCarrick said the Pope responded to Kennedy's letter with an assurance of "his concern and spiritual closeness."

Kennedy's grave is 95 feet south of his brother Robert's, which is just steps away from the burial site of another brother, former President John F Kennedy.
A single white, wooden cross will be placed at the head of the grave and a marble footmarker put in place, CNN said.

The footmarker reads: "Edward Moore Kennedy 1932-2009." The setup is identical to Robert Kennedy's grave, Arlington cemetery spokeswoman Kaitlin Horst told CNN.

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